day 11: 12.38 miles
WE’RE DONE BIKING
TOTAL: ~270.37 miles
We woke up with plenty of time until the park’s 7am opening. The plan was to either hide until the park opened or get out of there before anyone even came. While we didn’t expect anyone to give us a hard time for sleeping near the playground, we thought it was best not to tempt fate.
Well, go figure. About 10 seconds after taking down the tent and brushing our teeth, we heard a guy jump out of his truck and open the front gate. We watched suspiciously (and inconspicuously) as he drove into the parking lot, parked, and began unlocking the bathrooms. He then proceeded to walk in the direction of the playground–our direction–until we were convinced he’d seen us and was coming to speak with us. Or berate us…for sleeping in a children’s playground.
Instead, though, he cruised past us. Without ever even looking at us, he continued, straight to the Volcom hat I’d placed on the fence post the night before. Trying it on, he struck a little supermodel pose, turned around, and walked away, content with his findings. We had been 10 yards away the entire time, hiding in a playground, wearing spandex and packing up sleeping quarters, and he had never seen us. It was crazy.
He returned to his truck, backed out of his parking spot, and drove away. We stood there, jaws at our bike-short-tanline, amazed he hadn’t even noticed us. Thank you, Volcom hat.
The park was open. Fair game. No one could give us a hard time for innocently sleeping in the cockroach- and cat- INFESTED playground anymore.
And we weren’t arrested. Though the ferile cats and cockroach infestation around our campsite had been punishment enough.
Amazed and relieved, we began riding our few miles to Kona down the Pacific coast’s Ali’i Drive. There was an awesomely fast downhill brake-burner to sea level which was a gravitational pat on the back for a successful 270-mile ride around the island.
Finally, we were back in Hawaii. You know, the real Hawaii. With tourists and $100/hr rental jetskis and ziplines and signs and $3 t-shirts and stationary for sale and hand-carved coconuts in the shape of grizzly bears.
Yeah, after the past 2 weeks, that was definitely the real Hawaii…
We ate at Basik, an acai bowl shop that Lindsay’s childhood friends own. We sat on a pier and watched parasailers. We swam at some hotel’s private beach. Some guy with a hose sprayed sandy water all over my derailleurs. We relaxed, knowing we had all day to do whatever we wanted.
Eventually, though, it was time to figure out some logistics, such as retrieving our 200 pounds of gear from the local shop. It was time to head back to Kona Bike Works. There, in front of the building, we effectively took over the shop, scaring away any and all customers by shirtlessly disassembling bikes, eating nachos, and wiping sweat from our brows with greasy hands. We had to do some work. And it was hot.
- remove Lindsay’s tires and replace with tires that came with her rental bike
- return rental bike, haggle price
- reclaim all of our belongings that were stored in the shop’s loft
- unpack stored items
- completely disassemble and pack my bike into flight case
- pack all equipment into duffel bags and backpacks
This was a lot of work. Packing our belongings was very strategic, as we barely had enough room for everything. In addition, we wanted to limit the space we used on the public bus we were about to take in order to minimize our luggage costs. Lastly, everything had to be mobile enough to carry an uphill mile to the bus stop.
As shown by the video, we had an insane amount of stuff for 5 weeks on a Hawaiian vacation which included camping, backpacking, and a bike tour. Seriously. A lot. So when we were finally able to pack our stuff into 3 backpacks, a cavernous gear duffel, a bike flight box, and a longboard, it wasn’t lightweight. And the bus stop wasn’t close. The following mile of walking towards the public bus stop was full of anguish, sweat, and misery. As this is a relatively normal walk of shameful misery for me, which I endure on the majority of my gear-intensive trips, I loved every second of it. I’m unsure how Lindsay felt about it.
For $6, including gear and skateboard, we enjoyed an air-conditioned 1-hour bus ride to Waimea. There, we loitered at a bus stop for a while until our good friend Whitney once again came to our rescue, picked us and our stuff up, and happily drove us back to her house, where we once again unpacked, repacked, and prepared for the next leg of our trip.
Bike tour: check.
First shower in a while: check.